Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Movies: The East

(Drivebycuriosity) - Terrorism has many faces. A lot of fanatics try to enforce their political, religious and other ideas with violence. The movie "The East" focuses on a group of fanatic environmentalists with a tendency to illegal methods (imdb). A young woman joins this group to spy on them at the behest of a private agency that works for wealthy clients.

The film was way less dramatic and scary than the trailer promised. The plot, written by director Zal Batmanglij  and Brit Marling, who also played the leading female role, was inconsequential and didn´t convince me. The title of the movie - "The East" - is symptomatic for the movie´s weakness. The term is a relative construct, the east varies depending if you live in San Francisco, in New York (East Coast), in Leibzig (East Germany), in Dubai (Near East) or in Shanghai (Far East). The east is not tangible, neither is the story of the flick.

It is an open question why they chose this title, the movie didn´t tell much about geography at all. But worse, it didn´t show whether those environmentalists were really eco-terrorists, a pseudo-religious cult or just a group of naughty hippies. Were they really dangerous or just spoiled kids?

According to Wikipedia the film was shot in just 26 days which could be an explanation for the immaturity of the story (wikipedia). Wikipeda also reports that  Batmanglij & Marling developed the idea for the movie in the year 2009, two years before producing it. In the time between the makers wrote and shot another movie together ("The Sound Of My Voice"). Marling also cowrote the movie "Another Earth" where she also had the leading role. It looks like makers lost the idea a bit out of sight thanks to all this multi-tasking.

But the movie was acceptable thanks to the cast. Brit Marling is still a fresh face even though the actor/writer is now part of Hollywood`s establishment. She proves that intellect and beauty go hand in hand. Alexander SkarsgÄrd played a convincingly charismatic cult leader. They were supported by the ubiquitous Ellen Page and other fine actors.

 I found "The East" somewhat entertaining, but not worth remembering.

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